One area in Anaheim where you can find a different type of entertainment other than Disney is the Anaheim Garden Walk. Located right behind Disneyland across Harbor Boulevard, the complex provides dining and shopping. Most of the restaurants are well-known ones, like Roy's, Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Entertainment includes a Bowlmor Lanes bowling alley and the interesting U.F.O. Experience exhibition. Additionally, most of the shops are nationally known as well, from Skechers to Sunglass Hut, the selection is small but sufficient enough to merit a stroll through the center.
Upscale fashion and fine dining have a home at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Some of the top names in the industry like Burberry and Chanel, have a home among the more affordable choices like the H&M mega store and GAP. There is also a variety of restaurants to sate your appetite after a day of shopping. The center is also home to many events throughout the year, from fundraising concerts to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. With hundreds of boutiques, department stores and restaurants to choose from, a trip to the South Coast Plaza can easily become an all-day event, so be sure to plan accordingly.
This huge open-air shopping center is a bargain hunters dream with wonderful outlet stores and discount boutiques! You'll find over 120 stores all in one location including Nike Factory Store, Nordstrom Rack, and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH. With restaurants, shops, an AMC Theater with IMAX, and a huge indoor skatepark, the Outlets at Orange is a great place to spend a day.
The Lab is a center of alternative culture for the Costa Mesa area and views itself as an anti-mall by offering a unique indoor and outdoor space for funky local businesses. In addition to the many trendy shops like Urban Outfitters and Popkiller, you can find great vintage clothing at Buffalo Exchange, or check out the artwork at the ARTery. If the hipster-style stories leave you hungry, there are several cafes and restaurants open late. The Lab also hosts events, showcasing local artists, musicians and performers.
It is no small feat for an independent bookstore to stay in business during the times when even giant chains have caved in. It is a downright marvel when a brand-new bookstore emerges and proceeds to forge upstream against the general trend of brick-and-mortar decline. One such miracle occurred in the midst of the Downtown Arts District in 2011 when The Last Bookstore opened its doors, dazzling eager bibliophiles and inquisitive passers-by with its spacious, beautifully laid-out interior packed full of new and used editions of every genre. With its affordable prices, friendly staff and a massive, continuously changing collection, the bookstore quickly claimed for itself a permanent place among the most popular destination of Downtown LA.
This shop, formerly known as Comic Quest, is a small comic and collectible store that packs a large punch in terms of selection and quality. The space is laid out neatly with many different publishers on the shelves and within the racks. In addition to popular manga and comics, ASCQ also sells lots of cool art, design books, hard to find toys and clothing. The staff is always friendly and helpful with a recommendation, whether you are here to buy something for yourself or to give as a gift.
Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim attracts hoards of tourists and locals year after year with the Anaheim Nutcracker Holiday Festival but also makes for a wonderful place to be at on a lazy afternoon. The area features a pedestrian-only shopping district running for several blocks along West Center Street and is home to a multitude of holiday festivities and events. During Christmas, expect a visit from Santa Claus, as well as live musicians and carolers. Stop by at any time during the rest of the year to sample food from a variety of local eateries lining the promenade, or to pick up gifts in the many shops and boutiques in the area.
The Anaheim Farmers Market is a year-round tradition, held every Thursday rain or shine. Every spring, however, the Farmers Market becomes an even bigger to-do as it celebrates the Easter holiday. One day each year, the market offers Easter and spring-related fun and activities including a fashion show, live entertainment and egg dyeing. And, no Easter celebration would be complete without a visit from the Big Guy himself, the Easter Bunny. The Market is free of charge; some vendors accept credit cards.
At the Anaheim Packing District, there is no shortage of superb places to visit when you're hungry. Whether you are here for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, a stop at Pandor is more than just a search for amazing baked goods. Have a look at the Quiche menu and you'll be hard pressed to choose between the Lorraine made with leeks, bacon and cheese or the Florentine made with Parmesan, spinach and shallots. The sandwiches and panini are packed with healthy, organic ingredients and the selections vary from ones made with Merguez lamb to a Cuban made with turkey. Crepes and salads round out the menu and if you can't make it here, the boulangerie has two other locations, one in Newport Beach and the other in Long Beach.
Popbar is the place where grown-ups can get fancy popsicles made in two styles, sorbet and gelato. The 'Popgelato' menu has some amazing flavors, try the Green Tea dipped in white chocolate and crushed waffle cone or the Dulce de Leche dipped in caramel corn. The 'Popsorbetto' menu has more traditional flavors like mango, kiwi, passion fruit and pineapple while the yogurt selections only come in classic and strawberry. Of course, you can create your own pop, just choose one and add a dipping sauce as well as toppings. It's located in the Anaheim Packing District and it's a perfect place to cool down away from the blazing Southern Californian sun.
BOTI Studios on South Harbor Boulevard was founded by Lucinda. This studio hosts a number of classes and workshops in areas like meditation, psychic reading, drumming, dance and more. It also features a store that sells healing and cleansing objects like crystals, oils, sprays, sage, tarot cards and jewelry.
Hans' Homemade Ice Cream is a spot where you can get real, fresh cream made with all-natural ingredients. If you are looking for chemical goop sold in your neighborhood supermarket made by conglomerate food companies, you might want to search there. However, if you seek the real deal, Hans' and his crew know their business. The ice cream flavors range from Nutella and Oreo to Lemon Custard and Butter Pecan, needless to say there is something for everyone. Once you have made a choice, take your selection and grab a seat on the grass in nearby Farmer's Park and enjoy the people watching.